La Bonne Cuisine de Madame E. Saint-Ange: The Original Companion for French Home Cooking

Madame Evelyn Saint-Ange, Author, Paul Aratow, Translator, Madeleine Kamman, Foreword by , trans. from the French by Paul Aratow. Ten Speed $40 (786p) ISBN 978-1-58008-605-9

Translated into English for the first time since its original 1927 publication, La Bonne Cuisine has long been the French housewife's equivalent of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook or The Joy of Cooking —a trusted and comprehensive guide to "la cuisine bourgeoise" or home cooking, rather than the haute cuisine of chefs and Escoffier. Julia Child called LBC "one of my bibles" and drew heavily upon its detailed approach to preparation as she labored on her own classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking . Aratow has retained the book's exhaustive scope and delightfully imperious Gallic tone ("The only true roast is a roast cooked on a spit"). The result is a comprehensive if old-fashioned tome that is an excellent basic guide to techniques, equipment and every staple of the French repertoire, from Sauce Velouté and Fricassée de Poulet to Crème Caramel. Francophiles and food history buffs will thrill to see the legendary book in its entirety, complete with original illustrations, though few modern cooks still need guidelines for lighting the firebox of a cast-iron coal-fired stove or plucking and flaming a fresh-killed chicken. A more detailed apparatus of notes on modernization would've made the book more user-friendly. As it stands, this magisterial translation offers a window into a bygone moment in French life and is a testament to the enduring joy of cooking with cookbooks. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 10/10/2005
Release date: 11/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
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